January 29, 2005: Self-Promotion

January 29, 2005: Self-Promotion

This month, I finally worked myself into a routine that allows me to do something besides sleep when I get home from work. So I started my next book. The first chapter just flew onto page. The second chapter stopped me dead. What the heck is this? Have I done too much plotting? It’s true, I know a lot more about where this story is supposed to go than I have with any of my previous manuscripts. I wonder if I need to give my characters permission to go their own way. I hate to treat my characters as if they have a will of their own. I’m the writer, after all. I’m in charge. But. . . what if there is something to this idea? Perhaps I need to ease up a bit. Or perhaps I need to turn to another story that I also have on simmer. I’ll let you know.

But, as the publication date for Once Upon a Sofa (May 2005 – in case you have forgotten) approaches, this month has been about promoting my book and, consequently, myself…dread the thought. Serendipitously, my local RWA chapter’s January speaker was a publicist who does author promotion. She seemed very knowledgeable and had very detailed recommendations on how an author should promote herself. So. off I go.

I already have a web site, and that’s a good thing. But, apparently not enough. So, I’ve created a mailing list for a newsletter. For quite some time after I set up the list, it consisted of five of my closest friends. Naturally, I’m running a contest to get people I don’t’ actually know to sign up for the newsletter. The winner will receive a tote bag and journal and everyone on the newsletter will be eligible for future contests (of which, I hope, there will be many).

insert  newsletter form

So. when you go to http://www.myrettarobens.com now, you will find new links on the menu: the contest and the character journals. I think they’re good additions to the site and hope others are as well.The other thing I hadn’t done was start an author blog. I know there are tons of them out there. I read and enjoy a lot of them. But, I was not sure I could bring myself to write consistently about my writing life. I’m also not sure my writing life (or any part of my life) is interesting enough to bear daily, or even weekly, scrutiny. I think this monthly journal at AAR is about right. However, I think my characters have much more interesting lives, so I decided to set up a blog for them. It will give them a place to talk about their lives before the point where the books begin. And it may give them a place to talk about their lives after the books end. It’s been fun to think about and I’ve enjoyed writing the initial entries.

I got the copy edits for my second, Just Say Yes, this month. It was immediately clear that I did not have the same copy editor who had done Once Upon a Sofa. I had more disagreements with these edits than with the last one, but nothing that could not be fixed and, as always, it was a learning experience. For example, did you know, that if you make a correction in all uppercase, the typesetter will set it in all caps? Well, I didn’t. Unfortunately, unless I use block letters, my writing is pretty much undecipherable. Fortunately, my editor knew what I intended and rescued me before it went to be typeset. I hope. I guess I’ll know for sure when the page proofs arrive. I’ll have to work on that handwriting thing (or insert typed sheets for one line corrections). All this presupposes I’ll sell another book, which, unfortunately, is not a foregone conclusion.

The good news on the work front is that my consulting job has turned into a full-time position. This means less time to write, but it also means a paycheck and benefits, two items the importance of which cannot be overstated. I’m relieved and pleased to be employed again.

Meanwhile I continue to plug away at the new manuscript and hope that there’s a market out there for it. or for some other one.


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